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Hey. I'm Mark.

 

I'm an Ottawa-based policy wonk working on the issues that arise where government and technology collide. You might remember me from such endeavours as the Policy Crunch, the Future Forum or from my public commentary on technology policy. 

On this site, you can learn more about me and my work, including background, writings, presentations, and other assorted musings. If you want to know more or think we should work together on something, give me a shout!

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Mark Robbins

Policy Wonk

RoboRobbins@protonmail.com

You can check out my research on ResearchGate

 
EXPERIENCE
2017-Today

Senior Researcher

The Institute on Governance

Research, consulting, speaking, training and all manner of policy jujitsu at a prominent Ottawa think tank. Focused on technology policy, particularly for digital and other disruptive technologies. Government transformation and industrial policy for ICT, including artificial intelligence.

2018-Today

Board Member

The Canadian International Council - NCR

Volunteer board member with the CIC (the Canadian equivalent of Chatham House) hosting public events and closed-door conversations on issues related to diplomacy and international affairs.

2016-2018

PhD Researcher

The Munk School of Global Affairs (University of Toronto)

Researcher with the Creating Digital Opportunities project out of the Munk School's Innovation Policy Lab. Innovation policy and the digital economy, including on government policy for innovation intermediaries, like business incubators and accelerators.

2014-2016

Research Associate

The Conference Board of Canada

Research and policy advice on innovation policy, the digital economy and human capital policy at an Ottawa think tank (not actually a conference company). Assorted program evaluation. Loooots of writing and also, ok fine, some conferences too. 

2008-2013

Policy Analyst

The Canadian Transportation Agency

Several different kinds of policy analyst working on regulatory analysis and risk-based monitoring for transportation systems under the federal mandate. Data cruncher, policy entrepreneur and wonk in training.

EDUCATION
 
2016-2018

Some of a PhD

University of Toronto

Working on a PhD in political science on the subject of regulating the global digital economy, or at least when I can find the time! Ostensibly ongoing, but a frequent victim the ongoing battle between the urgent and the important.

2013-2015

Master's Degree

Carleton University

Political economy. Dissertation on innovation policy as it pertains to defence spending. Ongoing side project to turn this into a book called "Towards a Political Economy of Military Spending" or at least until a publisher changes the name :o). Some time with UN-ESCAP in Bangkok 

2006-2011

Bachelor's Degree

University of Ottawa

Political science. Wayward public servant, sometimes full time sometimes part time. Policy wonk in Delhi. Researcher with Ekos Research. Intern at Parliament of Canada. Frat boy. Francophile enthusiatique.

EXPERTISE
 
Artificial Intelligence Policy

Probably one of my better known talents. I do my part to help untangle the complicated issues of how we govern (or try to govern) the increasing autonomy of machines and their software. Its no easy task, but complicated problems like this are some of the most exciting!

Digital Government

The digital age poses a challenge to the status quo of government operations, but with any challenge comes opportunity and many of us are collectively helping to redefine government through technology. Practically speaking, this looks like a lot of bureaucracy hacking, writing on public administration and boiling the ocean of culture change in government.

Innovation Policy

A little known fact is that classic innovation policy (the pathway from research to development and ultimately commercialization) is my first policy love. I got into AI policy and digital government from having specialized in innovation policy for digital technology sector and am still passionate about innovation policy today.

Writing
 
Services
Consulting

I often advise on issues of emerging technologies and policy, mostly for government but sometimes also for those outside of government who looking for greater certainty about where we might be going. If you have questions, I can offer answers.

Public Speaking
I'm a strong public speaker and always enjoy bringing subjects I'm passionate about to new audiences. Whether it be panels, keynotes or MCing, I've done it and am happy to do more, et je peux le faire dans les deux langues officielles. :o)
Training
I've taught at universities and think-tanks, and made my own courses specifically designed for policy professionals looking to beef up their skills. This includes most notably the day course "Introduction to AI for Policy Practitioners" the highest ranked course at the IOG by learner satisfaction.
Research
 I have made a career out of being curious and explaining new and interesting discoveries to other people. If you are looking to explore a new and exciting subject in public policy and emerging technology, we're already halfway to working together.
Facilitation
It's not easy to get people to think outside of the box, but it's an increasingly important way of solving big problems and being agile. If you have big groups of people you are looking to pull together on complicated subjects at the intersection of technology and policy, I can help. 
My rates...
...reflect that I am not a big consulting shop, just a guy who is passionate about his field. Whatever your gig might be, you can rest assured of a good value. The most important thing is a good fit between your project and my expertise. That and availability, cuz its just me here!